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30 October  2009 ~

The Social Media Puzzle for Business Leaders I had some interesting discussions this month with people who I believe are looked upon as “business leaders”.  Interestingly, while they all had a certain curiosity about social media, they really didn’t see it impacting them and they were all very quick to dismiss it in its current form.  Based on my speaking to large groups of mid market CEO’s, unfortunately this response seems consistent in the business place today (which can be very detrimental to a business’ relevance).  So in this blog post let’s review the first two ways to help businesses learn to leverage social media.

First Point – It starts with understanding what social media is. In an earlier post,,  I described social media as literally a “conversation on steroids”.  Hence, this “conversation” occurs on an exponential scale between you and many people at once.  These “conversations” are intended to build relationships and over time, if nurtured correctly, these relationships hopefully lead into business opportunities.  

Here’s an example to highlight this… I spoke at a webinar this week with people from all over the country.  Prior to that webinar, I had no relationship with them – perhaps they were aware of me, this blog, my 42 Rules book or something else about me, but I had no tangible relationship with them.  If I were to approach them to buy something from me prior to the webinar, what do you think the results would be?  Probably pretty weak, right. 

So let’s fast forward to the end of the webinar.  Now I had a platform from which to speak to many people at one time (remember the phrase, conversation on steroids).  They got to hear me talk, address issues of value to them, share wisdom, and answer their questions.  In short, a relationship of credibility was established.  If my goal was to sell them something, what point in time would be better – before or after the webinar? It would be – after – because they’ve had time to converse with me and relationship build with me.  This works exactly the same way with social media, except it is a little more subtle as there may never be a spoken word during the process.

Second Point – Another point that business leaders need to appreciate is it is unfortunately no longer up to them to determine if they want to participate in social media or not.  They are being pulled into it whether they want to or not by their customers, prospects, employees, business partners, etc.  Here are two simple examples that highlight that.  Think about your buying decisions – if I were buying a 52 inch TV, would I go to the manufacturer’s site – after all, each will tell me they are the best, or would it be more effective to go to a site like Amazon or CNet that provide customer reviews?  I would be more apt to listen to the customer reviews as they are more practical and perhaps more trustworthy.  Thus, manufacturers need to be well aware of what is being said about their products on line as it is certainly impacting their bottom line! 

A second example is the video called “United breaks guitars”.  Long story short, according to the video, United Airlines broke this guy’s $3,500 guitar and wasn’t quick in trying to remedy the situation.  So he took matters into his own hand and created a video that has almost 6 million views since July!  Assuming everyone watched the video from beginning to end (and I realize that is not a valid assumption), that is the equivalent of nearly 48 million NEGATIVE 30 second commercials.  Regardless of what United tried to do after the video came out, it is near impossible to negate all of that negative PR. 

So the take away here is to understand the power of social media “conversations”, begin to learn where to participate, keep an open mind to it and make a real effort to learn it.  While there is no set speed for each business to move forward, the key is that the business needs to be moving forward in the social media space and not trying to pretend this is not shifting their business landscape.

About the CFO Strategist
Chris is very proud to add Best Selling author to his resume.  The book he co-authored, 42 Rules for 24 Hour Success on LinkedIn reached best seller status on Amazon, hitting a high of #68 across all of Amazon! Recently the book was included in the “Top 100 Best Social Media Books, Ever” list at #77

To purchase the book, please go to or to Amazon.

For more about us and social media info, please use our contact form to contact me.

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1 Comment »

  1. Great points, Chris. I have blogged about this issue numerous times as well.

    The same comments can be applied to one’s career. You can choose to control what is being said about you … or you can choose to do nothing and either become extinct because there is nothing on you or have your reputation ruined because of digital dirt.

    Cindy Kraft, the CFO-Coach

    Comment by Cindy Kraft November 2, 2009 @ 6:29 am

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